Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Czackis, Lloica. “Yiddish Tango: A Musical Genre?” European Judiasm 42 (Autumn 2009): 107-21.

Although the tango originated in Buenos Aires, several Ashkenazi Jewish songwriters in Europe soon adopted this genre as their own, either by giving existing tango melodies new lyrics in Yiddish or by composing new ones. The Ashkenazi Jews soon exported their Yiddish tangos to cities like New York City and Buenos Aires, where they became staples of Yiddish theater and musical productions. During World War II and after, the tango became an especially symbolic and even painful genre for Jews, as Nazis sometimes forced prisoners in concentration camps to play tangos when other prisoners were killed. Despite this, the tango genre also offered Jewish prisoners a medium for expression and a tie to their heritage, and the familiar melodies allowed the prisoners to easily remember their new lyrics. For instance, songs like Kinder yorn and Makh tsu di eygelekh include musical gestures that allude to the tango, while the contrafact camp song Yiddish Tango was adapted and reworked from Shpil zhe mir a lidele in yidish as a song of resistance.

Works: Anonymous: Death Tango (116); Anonymous: Der Todesfuge (116); Dovid Beigelman: Kinder yorn (117), Makh tsu di eygelekh (117); Ruven Tsarfat: Yiddish Tango (118); Rikle Glezer: Es iz geven a zumertog (118); Anonymous: Niewolnicze tango (118); Mary Sorianu: Tango fun libe (118).

Sources: Eduardo Bianco: Plegaria (116); Julio César Sanders: Adios Muchachos (111); Ángel Villoldo: El Choclo (111); Dovid Beigelman: Ikh ganve in der nakht (114); Henech Kon: Shpil zhe mir a lidele in yidish (118); Herman Yablokoff: Papirosn (118); Gerardo Matos Rodríguez: La Cumparsita (118).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Popular

Contributed by: Cynthia Dretel, Matthew G. Leone

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